Fandom: Count Cain
Characters: Riff +/ Cain Can we even tell the difference anymore?
Rating: PG...ish? PG-13 if you want to be on the safe side
Warnings: Semi-nonexistant blood ...And Cain running around the house naked, which is much less scary than it sounds. Cain's sleeping habits are not my fault.
Summary: Cain has a nightmare... just like always.
Disclaimer: If I owned Count Cain, it would be even more messed-up than it already is.
A/N: Gift!fic for rikoren. I honestly have no idea what the deal with the clock is; it just kinda... showed up.
It was another nightmare. That was it; there was no great dramatic terror, just the crack
of a whip in the darkness and the haunting smell of roses. In Riff’s opinion, that was quite enough. Nights he had spent like this all merged together; the darkness, the impassive ticking of the clock, the little wet stains of tears on the sheets. They were as unchanging as a stone statue; perhaps over the years the memories eroded a little and the blood became a little less fresh, but it was always there, lingering close like family.
He had been fast asleep, but he had sworn to himself once that there were some things that
would wake him even if he fell into a coma, and this was one of those. He awoke to find himself struggling with a panicky, half-asleep Cain, who had run down here and burst into his room ( and the part of Riff that was collected and detached reminded himself to later request that Milord please not do that; it would hardly help Cain’s reputation any if word got around that he took to running around naked in the middle of the night ), and everything went back to its familiar pattern.
Still, this must have been a particularly bad nightmare; he usually didn’t actually get up out of bed and find Riff anymore. That had been the province of Cain’s younger self, and this almost felt like deja vu. Pushing the feeling aside, he eased his legs over the side of the bed and slid his arms around the young earl. He said nothing; after all, there was really nothing to say. The silence was broken only by that stolid clock, and the half-heard noises of the house settling around them, and Cain’s sharp, choked little sobs.
The night outside was light and calm and somehow silvery; the stars had the look of one who already knew everything. Unsurprised, thought Riff, just like being woken up by somebody else’s nightmare was no longer a surprise.
He let his fingers run along the young man’s back, trying, perhaps in vain, to soothe him. The pattern of scars was familiar too; he could have traced them perfectly even if he were
blindfolded. It would have been hard not to remember them. He had, after all, cleaned and stitched most of them ( or at least, he had until he realized that stitches that would come undone the next night were less use than no stitches at all ), sighing unhappily at the way his hands always stained the soap rose when he washed them afterward.
Perhaps he was being somewhat egotistical, but he did wonder what Cain had done before he came along. The image floated in his mind: a boy sitting alone in a dark room, his knees drawn up to his chest, as pale as a ghost in a looking glass save for his black hair and the stains on the sheets around him.
Just like always, no matter how much he cried and shivered, Cain eventually fell back asleep, his head pressed against Riff’s chest and his dark hair falling over his face. By morning, as per usual, he would be back to normal, and Riff had long wondered exactly how much of the nights like this his master actually remembered come morning. Perhaps it was better if he didn’t remember much; just because he felt the need to go back and scratch at old wounds in his sleep, that did not mean he had to drag them back into the waking world as well. Maybe some things were best left as an echo in a dream, a rasping in the darkness.
Once he was sure that Cain was sound asleep, Riff began the task of carrying him back up
to his own bed. The house breathed in the sound of cautious feet on the stairs, the creak of a door, the inexorable clock; and the earl shook his head and muttered something in his sleep.